Artist Support Grants Awarded:

The Haywood County Arts Council (HCAC), along with regional partners including the Asheville Area Arts Council, Transylvania Community Arts Council, the Tryon Fine Arts Center, and the Arts Council of Henderson County announce the 2022-2023 Artist Support Grant awardees. Grants were provided to 24 artists in Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Polk, and Transylvania counties, also called Region 17. 


The Artist Support Grant was created in 2020 to support individual artists during the pandemic and has quickly become a staple for local artists. The North Carolina Arts Council states that the Artist Support Grants are intended to support “the professional and artistic development of emerging, midcareer, and established artists” as they strive to enhance their artistic and business skills and expand their audiences.


Morgan Beryl, HCAC Executive Director, led the process working with the other regional arts councils and the NCAC. Region 17 received applications from 79 artists requesting funding in the amount of $203,651. Jurors were selected from throughout Region 17, with each juror having expertise in the discipline that they judged. Beryl expressed appreciation for the juror panelists, “Each panelist donated considerable time to ensure a professional and equitable evaluation.”  


“During this grant cycle, we were delighted to award 24 regional artists with grants ranging from $750 to $3,000, and totaling $49,000 in funding, which were the total funds available for Region 17 to grant to artists in this program. These grants make a significant contribution to an artist’s development and career,” said Beryl. The 24 artist awardees represent the disciplines of craft, literature, media, music and theatre, and visual arts. Awardees from Haywood County are Rachel David, Kimberly English, and Ilene Kay who will be formally celebrated at HCAC’s Friday March 3 reception at 5:30pm. 


Rachel David is a blacksmith, sculptor, designer, and maker. Her metalwork practice is holistic; encompassing art, furniture, architectural elements, activism, collaborations, and gardening. “I’m so thankful for this award, it’s humbling and a good kick in the pants to keep working” says David.  


Ilene Kay, works in work in Argentium Silver, Gold, heat colored Titanium and Copper sheet and wire to create Art Jewelry using traditional fabrication metalsmithing techniques “Living in The Blue Ridge Mountains, I am thankful for the ever changing mountain vistas which offer limitless inspiration for the jewelry I make” says Kay.


Kimberly English, is an artist and educator. She earned her BFA in Fibers as a Distinguished Scholar from Savannah College of Art and Design and her MFA in Studio Art. “This opportunity will provide support as I embark on a residency at Praxis Digital Weaving Lab where I plan to develop a body of work that combines hand and technological processes in weaving. As an emerging western North Carolina artist, this support is invaluable and is sure to catalyze my blossoming practice” says English. 


HCAC and its regional partners congratulate the 2022-2023 awardees and encourage the community to join the celebration of these wonderful local artists on Friday, March 3 at 5:30pm at the Haywood Handmade Gallery.

Grassroots Grant Awardee Announcement:

The Haywood County Arts Council (HCAC) is excited to announce that seven local arts organizations were recently awarded collectively over $27,000 through the Grassroot Grant program. “We were very impressed by the number and quality of applications we received,” says Morgan Beryl, HCAC Executive Director. 

Since 1977, the North Carolina Arts Council’s Grassroots Arts Program has provided North Carolina citizens access to quality arts experiences. Using a per capita based formula, the program provides funding for the arts in all 100 counties of the state through partnerships with local arts councils. HCAC serves as the North Carolina Arts Council’s partner in awarding grants to local organizations for arts programs in Haywood County. 

The HCAC Board of Directors, who approve the funding recommendation made by an ad hoc committee of both board members and at large arts community members, were incredibly excited at the variety of artistic mediums and activities the grant is funding. “Increasing diversity both in terms of who we serve and the types of art programming we support is a major focus for HCAC for 2023” says Stephanie Kea, HCAC Board Member, Tuscola High School art teacher, and chair of the HCAC Program & Events Committee. 


The awardees and their activities are:

Afterschool Arts Program at FUMC of Waynesville – The Afterschool Program began in August of 2016 after the principal at Waynesville Middle School, members of law enforcement, and the Department of Social Services brought forth a need for safe, supervised after school care for middle school students. The program is offered to any middle school aged child free of charge. The Afterschool Program is collaborating with the HCAC to connect students to local artists. The goal is to have one art opportunity each month of the school year led by artists with different skills and passions.

The Daydreamz Project – Daydreamz Project provides unique art-making possibilities for people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities; offering opportunities to explore creativity, cultures and community together. The Daydreamz Project’s goal is to make arts accessible to all. Artists work primarily with disadvantaged groups, from isolated elders and at-risk youth, to shelter residents and people with disabilities.  Multiple lantern making workshops will be held in November and on December 2 at HCAC during Art after Dark. The stroll will occur on December 4. “Lantern Parades are celebrated worldwide by many cultures and bring light to the winter darkness, harken seasonal celebrations, and add a sense of magic to all festivities,” said Starr Hogan, Artistic Director Daydreamz Project.

Folkmoot USA – Folkmoot USA is a non-profit arts organization that fosters the vibrancy of many cultures in one community. Programs are based on cultural exchange and social inclusion. Our 40,000 ft. sg. community center is a multi-stakeholder, year-round resource for arts and cultural engagement, educational enrichment, creative entrepreneurship, and community development. The grant helps pay for performers and advertising for FolkmootLIVE, the in-house live concert production program. FolkmootLIVE is a new endeavor for Folkmoot and has 10-12 shows per year at the Queen Auditorium ranging from American traditional music, world music, storytelling that further the mission of Folkmoot USA. 

HART – HART is a non-profit whose mission is to produce community theater plays and musicals featuring talent from the region and to offer educational opportunities for young people, and adults, interested in pursuing a career in the performing arts. Kids at HART, HART’s youth drama program, will produce the full scale production of the Broadway musical “Children of Eden” about the book of Genesis covering Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and Noah and the flood.

Haywood Community Band – The Haywood Community Band is an organized concert band for community musicians. The project goals are to acquire new music for the 2022-23 season, and provide rehearsal space to prepare the season’s music.

Haywood Choral Society – The Haywood Choral Society is a volunteer organization that provides an opportunity for interested singers to come together for the enjoyment of singing, and performing, through the preparation and presentation of two major public concerts. The project goals are to perform and preserve great choral music, both new and old, secular and sacred. To make that music available to the general public at no charge. 

Voices of the Laurel – Founded in 1996, Voices in the Laurel (VIL) is beginning its 27th season as a premiere Children’s and Youth Choir in western North Carolina. Based in Haywood County, the program currently consists of three performing ensembles that rehearse weekly during the school year. In the upcoming season, VIL will expand its program in three ways in the performances of the Holiday Concert on 11/20/22, and the 27th Season Spring Concert on 05/20/23. The expansion includes: (1) the addition of an adult ensemble, Legacy; (2) outreach and marketing to be more inclusive of our community at large, increasing the number of Asian, Latino, and African-American members of VIL, and to provide more diversity in repertoire; (3) expansion of our staff to support the additional ensemble responsibilities, marketing, and recruitment.